Dubai International Airport (IATA: DXB, ICAO: OMDB) (Arabic: مطار دبي الدولي) is an international airport serving Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. It is a major aviation hub in the Middle East, and is the main airport of Dubai. It is situated in the Al Garhoud district, 4 km (2.5 mi) southeast of Dubai. The airport is operated by the Department of Civil Aviation and is the home base of Dubai's international airline, Emirates and Emirates SkyCargo; the Emirates hub is the largest airline hub in the Middle East ; Emirates handles 60% of all passenger traffic, and accounts for 38% of all aircraft movements at the airport. Dubai Airport is also the base for low-cost carrier, Flydubai. As of July 2010, there are over 6,000 weekly flights operated by 130 airlines to over 220 destinations across every continent except Antarctica.
The airport was the 15th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic handling 40.9 million passengers in 2009. The airport was also the 4th busiest airport in the world by international passenger traffic. In addition to being an important passenger traffic hub, the airport is the 7th busiest cargo airport in world, handling 1.927 million tonnes of cargo in 2009, a 5.6% increase compared to 2008 As of August 2010, DXB is the 6th busiest airport in the world by cargo traffic, and the 14th busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic.
The history of civil aviation in Dubai started in July 1937 when an air agreement was signed for a flying boat base for the aircraft of Imperial Airways with rental of the base at about 440 Rupees per month – this included the guards' wages. The Empire Flying Boats also started operating once a week flying East to Karachi and West to Southampton, England. By February 1938, there were 4 flying boats a week.
In the 1940s flying from Dubai was by flying boats operated by British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC), operating the Horseshoe line from Southern Africa via the Persian Gulf to Sydney.
On 29 October 2010, the airport marked its 50th anniversary. The airport has seen over 402 million passengers at an average annual growth rate of 15.5 per cent, and handled over 3.87 million aircraft at an average annual growth rate of 12.4 per cent.
The terminal increases the airport's maximum passenger capacity annually by 43 million, bringing the total annual capacity up to 60 million passengers.
With the arrival of the Airbus A380, the airport put into place modifications works costing $230 million. These included the building of 29 gates capable of handling the large aircraft, five of which are in Terminal 3, and 2 which are in Terminal 1. Other important projects at the airport include the next stage of the phase 2 development, which includes the construction of Concourse 3. This will be a smaller version of Concourse 2, which is connected to Terminal 3. Construction has already begun and is expected to be completed within two years, with plans to open by late 2011.
Dubai International Airport was conceptualised to function as Dubai's primary airport and the region's busiest for the foreseeable future without the need for relocation or the building of another airport when passenger figures increased. The area was chosen near to Dubai, to attract passengers from the city of Dubai, rather than travel to the busier Sharjah International Airport. The planned location originally was Jebel Ali.
Dubai Airport currently has three passenger terminals. Terminals 1 and 3 are directly connected with a common transit area, with airside passengers being able to move freely between the terminals without going through immigration, whilst Terminal 2 is built on the opposite end of the airport. For transiting passengers, a shuttle service runs between the terminals, with a journey time of around 20 minutes from Terminal 2 to Terminal 1, and 30 minutes to Terminal 3.